Leicester have to be content with a point at Stoke

Stoke City 2:2 Leicester City

Stoke City v Leicester City - Premier League

City took the lead twice at the Bet365 Stadium in Saturday’s early kick off, but were denied three points by a Peter Crouch header…

Claude Puel made one enforced change to his line-up, with Chilwell injured and Okazaki regaining his starting place.
There was a pre-match Remembrance Day parade featuring a ball used by soldiers during the Battle of the Somme.

Stoke City v Leicester City - Premier League

The game kicked off, or at least the ref blew his whistle. In a strange opening few minutes Stoke sat very deep, while City passed the ball amongst themselves.
The first chance came in the 11th minute  when Gray beat Zouma on the left and delivered a low cross which Vardy met at the near post, but Wimmer was on hand to block his effort.
Stoke then ventured upfield but Shaqiri pulled his shot well wide.
In the 20th minute Gray, faced with two defenders, chipped a nine iron over them to the far post, but it just eluded Okazaki, who picked up a knock from Butland.
There was another injury two minutes later when referee Bobby Madley pulled a calf muscle and was replaced by our old friend Jon Moss.
The game opened up after this and Stoke should have gone ahead in the 28th minute. The home side broke upfield and Choupo-Moting ran clear and side-stepped Maguire but sent his shot too close to Schmeichel who got down smartly to turn it away.
City then enjoyed their best spell of the game and took a 33rd minute lead. Following  a series of corners, the final one bore fruit. Mahrez delivered from the right, Maguire rose to nod it back across goal and Iborra pounced to blast a shot that Butland got a glove to, but couldn’t keep out.
Three minutes later Mahrez burst down the left, but hesitated in delivering a cross to Vardy, screaming for the ball in the middle, and Zouma snuffed the threat out.
From the resulting corner City almost replicated their goal, this time Gray sent it over from the left, Maguire nodded down again , but Iborra’s shot was blocked.

Stoke City v Leicester City - Premier League

City were on fire now, Gray beat Zouma down the left and his low cross was met with a header into the ground from Okazaki 6 yards, but Butland showed fine reactions to palm it over.
Moments later Gray delivered a cross from the right, but Iborra headed over, unmarked, from ten yards out.
This fantastic passage of play then ended with a Stoke goal. City’s defence were caught on the hop, and a fine ball from Choupo-Moting sent Shaqiri down the right channel to curl a precise shot round Schmeichel.
City pushed forward again, looking to regain the lead, and a cross from Okazaki was acrobatically vollied narrowly over his own bar by Diouf.
Stoke ended the half well, with Schmichel having to guide a 20 yarder from Shaqiri round the post, but City were left rueing those missed chances during a purple patch that could have put the game to bed.

Stoke had the first chance after the break, when Schmeichel did well to hold on to an Allen cross that deflected goalwards.
Mahrez then fired in a 30 yard shot that moved deceptively in the air, leaving Butland grateful to help it over the bar.
Mahrez then jinked through a crowded area before sending a low shot across goal that went just the wrong side of the far post.
Claude Puel made his first change on the hour bringing Iheanacho on for Okazaki, and City regained the lead within a minute.
Ndidi fed Mahrez down the right, and he accelerated away from the challenge of  Pieters before cutting in towards goal and firing a snap shot home across Butland with the defence expecting a cross.

Stoke City v Leicester City - Premier League

Iborra then limped out of the action to be replaced by King.
Stoke ramped up the pressure in search of an equaliser and Zouma fired a fierce shot straight at Schmeichel.
The home side levelled matters in the 73rd minute when substitute Crouch barged past Fuchs to meet a Shaqiri corner with a thumping header.
City should have regained the lead five minutes later when Iheanacho sent Vardy into the area. Vardy’s dummy sent Shawcross into the car park, but he then screwed his shot wide of the right hand post.
Stoke were on top for a spell and Puel brought Albrighton on for Gray with ten minutes remaining. But City still looked dangerous on the break – Iheanacho had the ball in the net in the 87th minute, but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.
There was one heart-stopping moment in time-added-on when Zouma’s close range header from a corner was brilliantly saved by Schmeichel, but both teams had to be content with a point from a game that had started slowly, but then turned into a hugely entertaining encounter.

Claude Puel commented: “I am happy with the attitude of my players, because it was a very good game, with intensity, with passion, with fight and it was very interesting. We had a lot of chances today, it’s difficult to accept just one point, but we also saw Kasper save well at the end so then OK, we take a point. We can make the situation better, the first and second goal we can prevent this. I think it’s an encouraging game for us for the future.”

Stoke: Butland, Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer, Diouf (Berahino 86), Fletcher, Allen, Pieters, Shaqiri, Sobhi Crouch 69), Choupo-Moting. Substitutes: Jesé, Afellay, Martins Indi, Adam, Grant.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Iborra (King 66), Ndidi, Gray (Albrighton 80), Okazaki (Iheanacho 58),Vardy.
Substitutes: Hamer, Dragovic, Amartey, Slimani.
Referee: R Madley (J Moss). Attendance: 29,602.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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Claude Puel off to a winning start over Everton

Leicester City 2:0 Everton

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

An attack-minded Claude Puel won his first game in charge of City on Sunday, a fairly comfortable 2-0 win against Everton in the King Power’s Remembrance Day fixture…

Puel made two changes to Michael Appleton’s last selection, with Gray and Chilwell in for Albrighton and Okazaki. Chilwell was used as a winger, with Mahrez given more of a roaming brief in support of Vardy.
After an impressive poppy display around the stadium, the game commenced, City pressed forward in the early stages and had three decent chances in the first ten minutes.

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

Gray fired a low 30 yarder just wide of the left hand post, Morgan had a shot at the far post blocked by Williams from a corner, and Chilwell stabbed an effort over the bar from a Gray cross.
A clash of heads between Gueye and Mahrez then left the City man requiring treatment.
The 16th minute saw a rousing round of applause for Shay Bryan, a 16 year old City fan who recently lost his battle against cancer.
Two minutes later City went ahead with a suberb breakway move.
Gray gained possession of the ball on the edge of City’s area and embarked on an 80 yard run, skipping past two challenges before sending Mahrez into space on the right. He delivered a perfect low cross for Vardy to meet with a well timed run and he beat Pickford from six yards.

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

Two minutes later City threatened to break again but Davies took one for the team, pulling Vardy by the sleeve and earning a yellow card.
In the 22nd minute Vardy charged down the left and delivered a cross for Mahrez which Williams intercepted. Mahrez regained possession, but his shot on the turn didn’t test Pickford.
Everton, who had turned in a woeful opening 25 minutes, began to get a foothold in the game, winning the physical battle in midfield.
Rooney delivered a defence-splitting pass that sent Lennon in down the right, but his cross went just behind Calvert-Lewin.
But City doubled their lead in the 29th minute, with a slice of fortune.
Gray’s cross from the left saw a miscued clearance from Kenny, who merely skimmed the ball, helping it on its way into the net. Although poor Kenny was subjected to three replays on the big screens, Gray was credited with the goal.
City had a let off in the 31st minute when Fuchs brought Lennon down, without making any contact with the ball. Despite the Rooney-led protestations, referee Andre Marriner didn’t want to know.
Everton were on top leading up to the break and Schmeichel had to be alert to push a long-range Mirallas effort round the post, but the visitors were lacking a cutting edge and City took their two goal lead in at half time.

The Toffee’s stand in manager David Unsworth made two changes for the second half, with Mirallas and Lennon replaced by Baningime and Niasse.
And City’s chances were now few and far between. Vardy attempted an overhead kick from an Iborra cross, but succeeded only in hurting himself.

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

Everton delivered a series of balls into City’s area, but a combination of solid defending and poor finishing meant that Schmeichel’s goal was never really threatened.
The 73rd minute saw Sigurdsson replacing Rooney, and he waved his arms about in protest as he made his way to the bench.
Claude Puel made his first change in the 75th minute, bringing Okazaki on for Mahrez.
As City continued to frustrate the visitors, Albrighton then replaced Chilwell in the 82nd minute.
City should have had a third with four minutes remaining, when a Vardy cross found Iborra ten yards out, but his first touch was poor and he ended up directing it well wide.

Leicester City v Everton - Premier League

With a minute to go Baines sent a dipping shot narrowly over the bar for their final chance and Claude Puel had got his City career off to a winning start.
The new City boss commented: “It was impressive because they played very well. It was very good first half with good combination and relationships between the players for a fantastic first goal. It was a little more difficult in the second half because they are a very good team and they tried to get back in the game. But we had a good attitude, good structure and a lot of solidarity.
It’s a very good result and I wanted to say thanks to our fantastic fans and their warm welcome. It was a fantastic atmosphere and I’m happy for my players.”

A second succesive Premier League win saw City leap up the table to 11th.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Gray, Ndidi, Iborra, Chilwell (Albrighton 83), Mahrez (Okazaki 75), Vardy (Iheanacho 90).Substitutes: King, Hamer, Dragovic, Slimani.
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Lennon (Baningime 45), Davies, Gueye, Mirallas (Niasse 45), Rooney (Sigurdsson 74), Calvert-Lewin. Substitutes: Schneiderlin, Holgate, Lookman, Robles.
Referee: A Marriner. Attendance: 31,891.

ALL PHOTOS: Simon Kimber

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Claude Puel appointed as Leicester City manager

Leicester City have announced the appointment of Claude Puel as Leicester City manager on a three year contract. 

claude

The former Monaco, Nice and Southampton manager, described as a “perfect fit” by  City’s vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, will take charge of the side for the Everton game on Sunday.

Puel said: “It’s a great privilege to become the new manager of Leicester City – a club whose values and ambitions are closely aligned to my own.”

The Frenchman served on one season at Southampton, and many felt his dismissal was harsh after a season that saw Saints finish 8th in the Premier League, with a League Cup Final appearance.
The same achievement at the King Power Stadium this season would do just fine.

Michael Appleton will retain his post as Assistant manager.

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Leicester overcome Leeds for a quarter final place

Leicester City 3:1 Leeds United

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Michael Appleton’s winning start continued at the KPS on Tuesday night, with City coming back from a goal down against Leeds to claim a place in Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

Appleton made eight changes to the side that started at Swansea, while Leeds fielded just one player from their last line-up, with a game against Sheffield United looming on Friday.
But it was the Championship side who got off to the better start and great move down the right ended with Grot firing in a shot that Hamer blocked at the near post.
Roofe tested Hamer with another effort, as City struggled to keep pace with an energetic Leeds, and then the visitors took a 26th minute lead. Roofe cut in from the right and fed the ball to Hernández, who side-stepped two blue shirts before finding the top right hand corner with a fine shot.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

Going a goal down had the immediate effect of waking City up, and they were level within four minutes. A long diagonal ball from Albrighton on the right saw Slimani and Wiedwald challenging on the penalty spot. The Leeds keeper got the first touch but succeeded only in setting up Iheanacho, who found the bottom left hand corner from 20 yards.
The tide had turned now, and Gray twice went close to putting City ahead before the break, one shot going narrowly wide and another thumping the crossbar.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

City dominated the second half, with a fine display from Amartey at right back and Iborra pulling the strings in midfield, but several golden chances to go in front were wasted. Gray missed the target when well placed, then King scooped an effort over the bar after being nicely teed up by Slimani. Slimani himself then headed over from close range with the goal at his mercy.
Michael Appleton brought Mahrez on for Albrighton in the 65th minute, and he had a hand in City’s goal five minutes later. A neat turn and pass found Iborra who stabbed the ball into the left channel for Iheanacho, whose square ball across the six yard line found Slimani sliding in to put City ahead.
Leeds then had a spell of pressure, but Hamer dealt with several crosses into his area.
City finally put the game to bed in the 88th minute with a bit of Mahrez magic.
he received the ball on the right touchline, cut in, accelerated past his marker and placed a precise shot from the edge of the area just inside the left hand post.

Leicester City v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

The manager with a 100% record commented: “It’s been a difficult week, It certainly would have been a lot worse and tougher had we not won the last two games. We’ve tried to stay in a positive frame of mind and stay professional and prepare properly, and I think the two performances suggest that’s been the case.”

The Carabao Cup quarter-final draw takes place on Thursday at 4pm, via Twitter.

Leicester: Hamer. Iborra, Dragovic, Maguire, Chilwell, Albrighton (Mahrez 65), Amartey, King, Gray, Iheanacho (Vardy 81), Slimani. Substitutes: Musa, Jakupovic, Ulloa, Ndidi, Fuchs.
Leeds: Wiedwald, Anita, Jansson, Shaughnessy, Borthwick-Jackson (Ayling 45), Phillips (Vieira 72), Klich, Roofe, Grot, Hernández, Cibicki (Sacko 65). Substitutes: Lonergan, Pennington, Lasogga, Alioski.
Referee: L Probert. Attendance: 31,516.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Appleton steers Leicester to victory at Swansea

Swansea City 1:2 Leicester City

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

Caretaker manager Michael Appleton led City to a fine 2-1 win against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday…

Appleton made one change to Craig Shakespeare’s final starting line-up, bringing Okazaki in for Iheanacho, as City took on the Swans on a wet and windy afternoon in South Wales.

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

And the side immediately looked more positive than they had in recent weeks, with Okazaki’s glancing header forcing Fabianski into a save in the first minute.
The Swansea keeper was called into action again in the 9th minute, when Okazaki teed up Albrighton for a shot that was tipped over the bar.
City were dealing well with Swansea attacks and looking lively up front, and Fabianski made further saves from a Vardy shot and and an off-the-shoulder effort from Ndidi.
City underlined their superiority, taking the lead in the 25th minute. Mahrez retrieved the ball from the goal line, and the home side appeared to switch off, expecting a goal kick. The Algerian international delivered a dangerous cross from the left and Fernandez sent a diving header across Fabianski and into the net.
Swansea had a decent spell after falling behind, and a Narsingh cross deflected off Simpson but was claimed by Schmeichel at the foot of the post.
Despite a series of corners, the Swans failed to trouble City, who took their lead in with them at the break.

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

Four minutes into the second half, City doubled their lead with Okazaki getting the reward for his huge efforts.
Albrighton swung over a ball to pick out Mahrez on the edge of the six yard box, again the Swans defence hesitated appealing for offside, and Mahrez cushioned a pass for Okazaki to stab home from close in.
City’s two goal lead only lasted until the 56th minute, however.
A poor corner from the left by Renato Sanches was turned into a good one by Ayew’s back heel, and it found Mawson, whose shot on the turn found the bottom right hand corner.
Swansea had their tails up for a while, but rarely threatened Schmeichel’s goal, with an off target header from Abraham, and a long range effort from Naughton that flew well over.
King replaced Okazaki in the 68th minute as Appleton shored up a midfield that had seen a fantastic performance from Iborra, now finding his feet in the Premier League.

Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier League, 21 October 2017

City could have wrapped things up with fifteen minutes left, but Vardy was denied by Fabianski in a one-on-one chance.
Swansea pressed forward with increasing desperation, but didn’t create any clear cut chances, a Routledge shot into the side-netting being the closest they came.
So the final whistle saw City’s second win of the season and a leapfrog out of the relegation zone up to 13th place.
It had been a hugely encouraging display, with some superb moments from Mahrez, solid defending, and effective attacking on the break.
The fans who had made the long trip in the face of ‘Storm Brian’ celebrated victory, though a ‘RUDKIN OUT’ banner reflected what some of them thought about recent events at the club.
Michael Appleton commented: “It’s been a difficult week for everyone – especially myself because of my relationship with Craig. This was an opportunity to put on a performance and make people feel a bit better. I was pleased with the first half – the way we moved the ball and went forward. And even when we conceded a sloppy goal, the way we saw out the game was very good.” 

Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Renato Sanches (Routledge 78), Britton (Ki Sung-yueng 45), Carroll, Narsingh (Dyer 56), Abraham, Ayew. Substitutes: van der Hoorn, Nordfeldt, Clucas, Rangel.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray 87), Ndidi, Iborra, Albrighton, Okazaki (King 68), Vardy. Substitutes: Chilwell, Iheanacho, Hamer, Amartey, Slimani.
Referee: Michael Oliver. Attendance: 20,521.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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Mahrez rescues a point against West Brom

Leicester City 1:1 West Bromwich Albion

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

City managed to scrape a point from a poor performance against an obstinate West Brom at the King Power on Monday night.

A win would have taken City out of the relegation zone, but Albion haven’t lost a game at Leicester since 1994, and from the first whistle their defensive intentions were clear.
A deep lying back four snuffed out City’s main threat of the swift break upfield, and faced with nine defenders there was plenty of sideways passing and no way through.
Okazaki had been dropped in favour of Iheanacho, and his energy was missed.
Vardy made two early runs down the left, Hegazi chopped him down to end the first one, and then put a hand in his face for the second, earning a 7th minute yellow card.
The resulting free-kick from Mahrez flew across the goalmouth, but no one was on hand to get a touch.
The rest of the half consisted of City trying and failing to get past the wall of white shirts, with Albion not interested in moving forward.
City’s best chance arrived in the 35th minute when a headed clearance from Hegazi fell for Simpson to let fly with a fierce half volley, but Myhill reacted well to bat it away.
Two minutes before the break, Iborra hit a shot into the ground and it looped up towards Vardy at the far post, but he couldn’t direct his header downwards and cleared the bar.
Mike Dean’s whistle then drew a veil over a truly woeful first half.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The second half started with a bang when Vardy and Myhill both raced towards an underhit back pass. They collided a yard outside the area and Myhill was yellow carded while receiving treatment.
Mahrez’s free-kick was half-cleared and the ball fell for Maguire at the far post, but a defending boot blocked his goal-bound header.
City should have taken a 50th minute lead when Albrighton surged down and left and cut in before teeing up an unmarked Mahrez, who scooped his effort over the bar from ten yards.
Myhill then received lenghty treatment as he continued to struggle after his collision with Vardy.
In the 62nd minute, the team that had come for a draw contrived to go ahead.
Iheanacho fouled Krychowiak 35 yards out and was harshly booked.
Chadli lifted the ball over the wall, and Schmeichel, wrong-footed and unsighted could only watch it sail into the net.
City huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser, but made little impression on an even more withdrawn Albion, failing to test a clearly struggling Myhill.
Criag Shakepeare made his first changes in the 74th minute with Icheancho replaced by  Slimani, and Simpson off for Chilwell.
This immediately looked like a better set up and both subs were involved in City’s 80th minute equaliser. Chilwell crossed from the left, Slimani nodded the ball back from the far post and Mahrez chested it down and steered it past a forest of defenders and Myhill.

Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League

The game had finally come to life and Maguire blasted a swerving 25 yarder which was too close to Myhill, who parried it away.
But Albion rallied and managed to keep City at bay through 5 minutes of time added on.
A point wasn’t enough to lift City out of the relegation zone, but the late conversion to a 3-5-2 may have shown the solution to the problem.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Chilwell 74), Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez, Iborra King 90), Ndidi, Albrighton, Iheanacho (Slimani 74), Vardy. Substitutes: Gray, Hamer, Amartey, Okazaki.
West Brom: Myhill, Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs, Livermore, Krychowiak, Barry, Rodriguez (McClean 84), Rondón, Chadli (McAuley 84).
Substitutes: Nyom, Yacob, Phillips, Brunt, Palmer.
Referee: M Dean. Attendance: 30,203.

PHOTOS: Simon Kimber.

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The FOX issue 205 – on sale before tonight’s game

The 205th edition of The FOX – The Leicester City Fanzine will be on sale before tonight’s game against West Brom…

cover web

Featuring: An interview with former City winger Matt Piper; Fully Programmed from December 1991; Fox Diary –with not too many victories in it; a Fanatical Frank portrait for you to frame; the History of Leicester City in 100 Objects; the impact of TV on the fixture list from the Foxes Trust; Favourite Shirts – Rewind to a young Filbert Fox; Foxed in the Head – on mascots, lampshades, Harold Wilson and fashion; Far East Foxes – Glen White is Our Man in Hong Kong; John Hutchinson on football’s recurring trends; your letters and Bentley’s Roof; Parting Shots, our favourite photos of the last month…

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all for less than the price of a pint…

Matt Piper interview extract…

mp header web

FOX: You are a Leicester lad, did you support City as a kid?
MP: Well, my Dad was from literally one street away from Highbury, so he brought me up as an Arsenal fan, but I did support Leicester as well. My favourite players were Ian Wright for Arsenal and Steve Corica for City. I really liked Corica, he was such a skilful player.
I bit later, when I was about 15 and in the City youth team the player I really used to look up to was Emile Heskey. He’d come through the youth ranks in the same way as I was trying to, and I ended up cleaning his boots for two years. Normally they try and get you to clean the boots of someone in your position and I was a striker then, not a winger. Except for the manager’s boots, that job is normally given to the goody two-shoes of the side.
FOX: How did you end up in the City Academy?
MP: Well, I started off at Nottingham Forest for six weeks. I played for Beaumont Town and a Forest scout came over to watch me and I was invited to join them.
For the first session I was sat in the car crying: “I don’t want to go to Forest!”
My Dad said: “Well, Leicester haven’t come in for you, so get on with it.”
They got me out of the car and I trained and did all right. After six weeks they offered me a place in the academy, but two days before I was due to sign it, I had a letter from Leicester City. David Nish invited me down to go and train at their academy. So that was close.
I played through every age group with City and then signed up to the youth team.
Everything had gone well for me until it was professional contract time and I had a meeting with Peter Taylor. He told me: “We think you are a good player and we’d like to keep you because we think we’d be able to sell you, but I don’t see you in our first team.”
Because I was a Leicester lad and wanted to stay there, I signed the contract, even though I was on half the money that Jordan Stewart was. Garry Parker was the reserve team manager at the time and he told me to sign it. He told me: “If Peter Taylor ever loses his job and they put me in charge, then I’d put you in the first team.”
And as it turned out, he was as good as his word.

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